Social in 2013: here’s who won big

social media iOS

social media iOS

2013 has been a great year for digital, a real game changer in terms of its transformation towards the digital revolution that is set to impact the way we communicate, do business and LIVE forever.
The evolution of communication, through the evolution of social, has led us to experience one of the most dramatic changes in the way we communicate, inform ourselves, and interact with each other.

The year has been nothing short of amazing in terms of the ‘Wins’ social media has achieved. Marketers have come up with new, unique ways to create bonds with audiences, encouraging interaction and ultimately intent to purchase. Social has been the key driver behind many of these campaigns where brands and marketers alike have seen huge success in terms of engagement and ROI.

Viral has become a buzzword that many strive for, yet few achieve. But regardless of how frequently things change in the world of digital, one thing will remain the same: brands will continue to use stories, interaction, and creativity to attract customers. This has been the success of social in 2013.

Stories: the selfie
A great example how social has infiltrated itself into regular, traditional channels and become integral aspects of all people’s lives is the rise of the Selfie.

Playing on the users own personal story and making them the center of the band story the selfie has been a create way to bring consumers closer to brands and experiences. I’d like to think that the selfie is one of the spins off of brands as operating systems (insert link to my previous post) where brands are starting to be become the foundation of how people live their lives.

Selfie (and twerking) being added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online is a huge win for social media 2013. Why? The fact that a purely social derived term — born out of social, for social, by social — has become a part of the everyday, official English language, says something about its influence.

Apt marketers have jumped on and given the selfie even more power than it already has. One of the great examples from 2013 is the Urban campaign where customers were able to use their selfie’s to actually pay towards their purchase.

Just in case you think this is just for the young and fabulous, think again, even the Pope got on board!

Pope selfie

Another social media win this year was the Dove real beauty campaign. Here story telling was at the heart of the message and this translated beautifully into traditional and digital platforms.
Dove noticed that only four percent of women describe themselves as beautiful to demonstrate how utterly warped our sense of beauty is, a criminal sketch artist was hired to draw the sketches of several women (whom he could not see) based on how they described themselves. He then created sketches of the same women as described by strangers who had met them briefly.

When the sketches were compared, the ones formed with strangers’ opinions were shown to be invariably more flattering and accurate.

Launched in April 2013, the video quickly became viral on various social media platforms and more than 15 million people downloaded the video within a week.

Dove Real Beauty stats

On YouTube, the shorter three-minute version was viewed 30.6-million times and garnered 660 000 shares on Facebook during its first 10 days. The video also inspired parodies such as Dove Real Beauty (Guy Version), which just added to the hype and talk around this campaign.

Interaction: visual content and harnessing the power of social
Besides integrating itself into traditional everyday life, social has shown its real power this year, which was cleverly demonstrated by a teacher giving her class a lesson in internet safety.

Online safety teacher

After posting the above picture online, within a matter of weeks it had over 3.2-million likes as well as over 50 000 comments.

The success of this teachers ploy to demonstrate how nothing is really ‘safe’ or ‘private’ online is clearly made, but in addition to her original point, this goes on to prove the success and power of content marketing. Interaction is at the heart of social and 2013 has been a year where this has exploded and allowed users to become part, and help shape, the brand story.

2013 has been the year where interactive and engaging content has been greater than ever. A great example of this is the Warner Bros’ trailer for ‘Man of Steel’ which has been viewed more than 28 million times on YouTube. That means it’s created content so engaging consumers have bought it, not the brand story.

Engaging content isn’t just limited to visual. The real power social platforms can harness is when a campaign provokes users to interact and do something in response. A great example is The Human Rights Campaign, which ran in March this year.

Human Rights campaign

This was one of the most visible campaigns on Facebook, ever, and accompanied real life demonstrations outside the Supreme Court on the eve of two historic marriage equality hearings.

Millions of Facebook users changed their profile picture to a red version of the HRC’s equal sign logo. According to Facebook, some 120% more users changed their profile pictures on Tuesday, March 26 than on the previous Tuesday. The logo received 10 million impressions, 189,177 shares, 95,725 likes and appeared more than 18 million times in News Feeds.

Creativity: the switch to social companies
2013 has seen companies make the shift become social companies, creating original content through social channels to gather fans and ultimately increase the bottom line.

Social media is all about what’s happening right now and for brands to break the noise, it is important to remain relevant and come up with ways that cut through the clutter.

Creativity has been the driving force behind many successful social campaigns this year companies and brands have started seeing the importance of creating and sharing visuals in real-time.
One of my favorite examples is the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign

Share a coke

A very bold move and for the first time ever Coca Cola replaced its brand name on its cans and bottles with popular names in their “Share a Coke” campaign, which recently launched in SA after a very successful campaign in Britain.

President at Coca-Cola South Africa, Therese Gearhart, says, “We’re swapping our brand name with yours. This campaign features 600 of the country’s most popular names on Coca-Cola bottle labels and cans. In addition, Share a Coke vending machines will be on tour so that consumers can personalize their very own Coca-Cola cans.”

Using 3D printing technology, some Coke kiosks also allowed consumers to print other names on the bottles. By encouraging users to share their photos with their personalised bottles on @CokeZone with #shareacoke their social following has seen a massive spike.

This is a really great use of creativity through social that has resulted in a highly successful campaign. Coke’s Facebook community has grown by 3.5% in Brittain and by 6.8% globally.

The hashtag #shareacoke has also been used 29,000 times on Twitter and the campaign is still in its early stages so there aren’t even statistics on how this has affected sales.

The idea behind this campaign embodies all that social has to offer – it’s about sharing, connections and real people. Coke managed to take these elements and integrate them onto its brand story.

Coke’s use of creativity through social and its shift towards becoming a social business is what has allowed the brand to have one of the (in my opinion) most successful social campaigns 2013 has seen.



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